The Law Society is planning to help small legal firms struggling to buy professional indemnity insurance (PII).

It has set up a working group to prepare for the PII renewal deadline in October next year.

Small law firms have found it difficult to obtain cover this year as insurers are concerned that, during an economic downturn, they do not have the same checks and balances in place as larger outfits.

About 146 law firms ended up in the assigned risk pool this year, up from 100 last year. Other firms faced much higher premiums.

Paul Marsh, president of the Law Society, said: “We want the profession to be fully prepared for renewing their indemnity insurance, year on year. We will be working with the insurance industry to make that happen and with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, which is looking at the rules governing insurance renewal.

“The slight increase overall in premiums in 2008 does not reveal the myriad problems and difficulties many small firms experienced. We need to drill down, identify those problems and look at how best to alleviate them.”